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David Seah talks with James Allen of Creative Huddle: James creates enabling tools for productive brainstorm sessions for business people who aren’t in a bona-fide “creative industry”. Creativity, he noted in one conversation, applies to every field. The first step of a productive brainstorm is to create ideas in the first place. Lots of them. Many of them that might be regarded as terrible, but are the necessary stepping stones toward greater ideas.
From FastCompany: The inverse relationship between number of ideas and amount of resources is what Smart Design’s Gordon Hui calls “the pipeline paradox.” But it can be avoided.
From The Heart of Innovation: When they are led by upper management, department heads, or project leaders, they usually get manipulated. Because honchos and honchettes are so heavily invested in the topic being brainstormed, it is common for them to bend the collective genius of the group to their own particular point of view.
From The New Yorker: In the late nineteen-forties, Alex Osborn, a partner of the advertising agency B.B.D.O., decided to write a book in which he shared all of his creative secrets. “Your Creative Power” was filled with a variety of tricks and strategies, but Osborn’s most celebrated idea was the one discussed in Chapter 33, “How to Organize a Squad to Create Ideas.” When a group works together, he wrote, the members should engage in a “brainstorm.” The book outlined the essential rules of a successful brainstorming session. The single most important of these, Osborn said, was the absence of criticism and negative feedback. Brainstorming was an immediate hit and Osborn became a popular business guru. The underlying assumption of brainstorming is that if people are scared of saying the wrong thing, they’ll end up saying nothing at all. Typically, participants leave a brainstorming session proud of their contribution. The whiteboard has been filled with free associations. At such moments, brainstorming can seem like an ideal mental technique, a feel-good way to boost productivity. But there is one overwhelming problem with brainstorming. It doesn’t work.
From NY Times: Solitude is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.
But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.
From FastCompany: Two recent articles argue that brainstorming doesn’t make people more creative. So how might we remake the brainstorming process, given what science tells us?
From FastCompany: Scott Belsky explains how every creative occasion–whether it’s a meeting, brainstorm, or a personal project–can be reduced to three things. He calls it the “Action Method.”